Picasso in Palestine in Kabelvåg

Curators announce the 2013 Lofoten International Art Festival; a February screening of Picasso in Palestine, introduced by Charles Esche, sets the tone for this autumn’s LIAF.

Charles Esche under presentasjonen av dokumentarfilmen Picasso in Palestine av Rashid Masharawi.
Charles Esche presenting Picasso in Palestine by Rashid Masharawi.

This year’s Lofoten International Arts Festival will open September 6, and curators Anne Szefer Karlsen, Bassam El Baroni and Eva González-Sancho have announced the title and theme of the festival: Just what is it that makes today so familiar, so uneasy?, a reformulation of the title of Richard Hamilton’s iconic 1956 collage symbolic of post-WWII economic expansion, Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing. In a press release the curators ask what might portray our own era.

LIAF 2013’s title acknowledges a worldwide sense of crisis as dominant economic ideas fail to solve challenges. Strong, even violent disagreements occur visibly between populations and their leaders. LIAF 2013 artists will take positions about how art can deal with these antagonistic energies. Their works will also address the conditions for art in a culture where the art institution demands this antagonism. To separate from such dealings LIAF 2013 will renounce institutional white-cube architecture and avail itself of private, commercial, and public spaces in Lofoten.

Picassos Buste de Femme (1943) utstilt Ramallah i 2011. Foto Khaled Jarrar.
Picasso’s Buste de Femme (1943) in Ramallah, 2011. Photo: Khaled Jarrar.

The curators also have announced a monthly series of events prior to the festival opening which will introduce aspects of its theme to the local audience. Leading off the series on February 25 at Arbeideren in Kabelvåg, Charles Esche of the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven discussed and screened the 2012 film Picasso in Palestine by Khaled Hourani and Rashid Masharawi, which recounts the story of a mid-2011 Picasso exhibition in Ramallah. Co-curator Anne Szefer Karlsen emphasized how the removal of the Picasso Buste de Femme (1943) from Eindhoven to the unknown context of Ramallah connects with the focus of this year’s LIAF on the uncertain road forward toward «a new way of living». Original article in Norwegian (27.02.13).